Fast Cash: Matt Hirschman Holds Off Chase Dowling To Win Tri-Track Open Wheel Wednesday At Seekonk

Matt Hirschman celebrates victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series Open Wheel Wednesday event at Seekonk Speedway (Photo: Tom Morris Racing Photography)

Open Wheel Wednesday proved to be almost a Sunday cruise for Matt Hirschman.

It was a virtual race-long sail away out front for Hirschman until the final four laps when Chase Dowling turned Hirschman’s smooth seas into a rough ride into harbor.

In the end Hirschman was able to hold off the charges of Dowling over the final four laps and the driver dubbed “Money Matt” once again took home the big cash in winning the 100-lap Tri-Track Open Modified Series Open Wheel Wednesday feature at Seekonk Speedway.

It was the fourth time that Hirschman, of Northampton, Pa., has been victorious in the $10,000 to win event. Hirschman went from second to first on the opening lap and led 99 of 100 laps.

“I feel very winded, very relieved to hold on to that,” Hirschman said. “I almost lost it into [turn] one a couple times. … It’s a big race. This is a big win. … This one of less than maybe a handful of races all year you look forward to and if you don’t get it done you’ve got to wait a whole calendar year for another chance.”

Dowling, of Roxbury, held on for second and Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Mass. was third.

“I was just doing everything we could with the apron, trying to use the apron and the whole race track just to figure out something to make the car the best we could,” Dowling said. “That’s all she had there at the end.”

With five laps remaining Hirschman rolled up on a pack of lapped cars.

With four laps left Hirschman went to the outside of Blake Barney, who was running at the tail end of the lead lap. With Barney staying to the inside Hirschman wasn’t able to complete the pass on the high side by Barney and it was Dowling filling the hole in the low lane behind Barney and under Hirschman.

For two laps Hirschman stayed to the outside of Barney while Dowling tried to find a lane under Barney. At the white flag Hirschman was able to clear Barney into turn one, leaving Dowling chasing his bumper for the remainder of the final lap.

“That was kind of close at the end,” Hirschman said. “I didn’t have anything left there. [Barney] didn’t do anything wrong there. He gave me a lane [on the outside] and I just couldn’t do anymore and [Dowling] filled it. He did what he had to do too. It’s good to be racing with quality racers there at the end with Nocella and [Dowling] and even [Barney] there holding onto his car. I know [Dowling] was working him some. You can’t blame him for that.”

Said Dowling: “That lapped car, I gave him as many big shots as I could to move him up a lane, just wasn’t enough to fit my nose in there and get by him on the bottom. In contention for the win at the end, but it sucks to finish second obviously.”

Hirschman went by pole-sitter Brian Robie on the first lap and took control at the front early. The first caution flew on lap three for the spinning car of Russ Hersey. On the restart it was Doug Coby going by Ron Silk for third and then making quick work of Brian Robie for second.

Hersey brought out the second caution of the event on lap 29. The yellow sent third place Silk, fourth place Justin Bonsignore and fifth place Dowling to the pits.

Caution flew for the third time on lap 58 for the spinning car of Devin O’Connell with Hirschman leading Coby at the front of the field. Coby headed to the pits under caution putting Nocella in second place for the restart with Matt Swanson in third.

The fourth caution came on lap 64 for the spinning car of Kirk Alexander with Hirschman leading, Nocella in second, Swanson in third and Dowling fourth. Dowling went by Nocella for second place on lap 78 and then began the hunt to catch Hirschman.

Richard Savary of Canton, Mass. was fourth and Joey Cipriano of Waterbury fifth. Silk, Robie, Coby, Les Hinckley III and Angelo Belsito rounded out the top-10 respectively.  

RESULTS: Tri Track Open Modified Series at Seekonk Speedway

  1. Matt Hirschman
  2. Chase Dowling
  3. Anthony Nocella
  4. Richard Savary
  5. Joey Cipriano
  6. Ron Silk
  7. Brian Robie
  8. Doug Coby
  9. Les Hinckley
  10. Angelo Belsito
  11. Chris Pasteryak
  12. Dylan Izzo
  13. Justin Bonsignore
  14. Tommy Barrett
  15. Matt Swanson
  16. Austin Beers
  17. Russ Hersey
  18. Woody Pitkat
  19. Max Zachem
  20. Matt Galko
  21. Anthony Sesely
  22. Devin O’Connell
  23. Blake Barney
  24. Kirk Alexander
  25. Austin Kochenash
  26. Ronnie Williams


  1. getserious says

    I wasn’t there to see it, but it sounds like Hirshman should give a big chunk of that money to thehis Barney guy that didn’t get out of the way and let the top two cars race for the win.Of course, maybe when he had the lapped car beside him, Matt backed off just a hair to keep him blocking Chase.

  2. Great racing tonight! Thought Doug had something for the 60 and was surprised he pitted with less than 40 to go. Wonderful racing either way

  3. Getserious,
    I watched the race and I don’t think Barney did anything wrong considering the position he was in. Hirschman never pitted and his car was going away. Barney gave him the outside to go around and he couldn’t complete the pass. As far as Hirschman opting to stay outside of Barney and use him as a pick so to speak, maybe he did do that, but what is Barney supposed to do at that point? And that’s quite a gamble on Hirschman’s part when you consider if Dowling gets under Barney he’s most likely going to get pushed up into Hirschman and I think Hirschman knew that. You make it sound like Barney could have just pulled over and got out of the way. There was no way for him to get out of the way at that point. He’s riding the bottom and he’s got Hirschman to his outside and Dowling all over his bumper. You tell me how he gets out of the way and let’s the top two cars race.

  4. At Seekonk in the weekly races, LAP CARS go to the TOP Grooves and get out of the way of Leaders. The Bottom Groove is the FAST LANE. I don’t know why the Tri-Track and Tour allow lap cars to ride in the Low groove and get in the way. Move them to the TOP Grooves and let the Leaders by and settle it among-est themselves ,

  5. It might be my old age, but I’m a little confused. I never saw the 08ct McDermott. Yet the announcers at the track stated, “on the pole cam McDermott”, and this article mentions McDermott. All I saw was Robie in the 25 on the inside of row 1. What did I miss?

  6. Rafter fan says

    Good finish, but shouldn’t such a big race be at least 150 laps at a 1/3 mile track?

  7. Bobf,
    Yes, my mistake in the story that it was Robie on the pole.

  8. Just Me - The Original says

    08ct McDermott broke a rocker in the first practice.

  9. Jimmy King says

    McDermott broke in practice and scratched for the night. Without Barney there I don’t think Dowling gets alongside Hirschman to begin with, he did nothing wrong. Matt even said so in his interview. Good, clean race with a great finish!

  10. Well that was certainly an interesting, unanticipated wrinkle.
    I’m screaming for Barney to get out of the way but he really couldn’t short of pulling off the track. Poor guy was trapped being used like a cheap whore by Hirschman while Dowling’s banging on his rear bumper hoping to create a space that the 60 made sure wasn’t available. Barney no doubt sitting there hanging on thinking gee I should have stayed high like Suitcase Jake said but too late by the time he may have realized it.1
    Gotta give Dowling the nod for a heady race. He knew the race was there for the taking, got blocked, no doubt was super pissed but didn’t drive through Barney and take the 60 out in the process. Hirschman knew he could have. Chase doesn’t get big money this race but is leading the CBYD bonus over Williams who retired early, Ben Dodge knows that apple is near ripe for the picking and has a driver smart enough not to risk letting Williams back in the hunt with a risky, bonehead move.
    Patience grasshopper. A season ending win at the Haunted Hundred very possible, taking the winners share of the purse and the CBYD bonus as well.
    He’ll be back.

  11. with this race being as big as it is why not invert the starting lineup with Hirschman starting on the front row this race except for the final few laps was over before it even started

  12. I was waiting for Dowling to go 3 wide on the front stretch ,last half of the race was very good.

  13. knuckles mahoney says

    Very well said Shawn. When you’re getting lapped, everyone knows you stay on the bottom. That’s what Barney did, and Matt could not make the pass, so he just stayed on his outside. What’s Barnet supposed to do, pull in the infield. No, he’s racing too. Nothing to see here, move along.

  14. Watching the race online. I dont think you can blame Barney. Once he was in that position he kept his line and tried to be as big a nonfactor in the result as possible. Unfortunately he ended up being a factor in the result. Nothing he could do about it. I was thinking Hirschman was using Barney running side by side with him to keep Chase from passing. It appeared as though Chase had a much better car at the end. Whether on purpose or not it was a risky move as highlighted by Shawn but made for an entertaining race finish.

    I agree with Rafter the Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk is one of the bigger races we have for modifieds lets make it more special and add some laps. Lets differentiate this race from all the other Tri track/open shows for modifieds.. Mods at Seekonk always puts on a heck of a show. They never disappoint.

  15. I dont think you can blame Barney. Once he was in that position he kept his line and tried to be as big a nonfactor in the result as possible. Unfortunately he ended up being a factor in the result. Nothing he could do about it. I was thinking Hirschman was using Barney running side by side with him to keep Chase from passing. It appeared as though Chase had a much better car at the end. Whether on purpose or not it was a risky move as highlighted by Shawn but made for an entertaining race finish.

    I agree with Rafter the Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk is one of the bigger races we have for modifieds lets make it more special and add some laps. Lets differentiate this race from all the other Tri track/open shows for modifieds.. Mods at Seekonk always puts on a heck of a show. They never disappoint.

  16. The Atomic Punk says

    Coby pitting while in 2nd? Made Zero sense. How many NWMT titles? Pits while in 2nd? Because the car was not perfect? Running 2nd? Knowing the #60 was not going to pit? Maybe next time Doug could try a Jiggle or two to the steering wheel like Stefanik, TC, The Reg or any of the True Greats I’ve had the pleasure to watch the last 45+ years would’ve done….. Not impressed.

  17. Barney didn’t do anything wrong.

    So, was that DCR or MSIIIR?

  18. Thx for info on ct8 guys. Was wondering.
    I heard nothing while at the track where I was, that he had broke in practice.

  19. The Atomic Punk says

    I’m curious about engine rules in Tri track and open races. Are NWMT Specs allowed in either? Built motors? The major differences between the NWMT and the other series? It was a decent race. If I could see a few more top tier cars compete would be my only complaint.

  20. Barney didn’t do anything wrong. That’s short track racing. It’s crowded and traffic is a factor. Traffic like that is a part of racing.

  21. Fast Eddie says

    Barney reminded me of trying to change lanes during rush hour; you need to move over, but you’re surrounded by other traffic and can’t make a move. Barney did the right thing, staying low with plenty room on the outside for the faster cars. whether or not they choose to go around is on them. I’m sure Hirschman was in no hurry to pass Barney with Dowling right there; yet another example of Hirschman’s chess-playing tactics. The “Big Money Matt” name confirmed again!
    Rafter & csg, agree with you, particularly with $10k up, Open Wheel Wednesday should be longer. Another option would be to leave Open Wheel Wednesday as is due to tradition and that (I think) it was the original Open Modified show around here. Give the longer race to the Haunted Hundred, being the finale for the series, although that messes up the name. The Haunted Hundred and a Half?

  22. There are already 300 laps of feature racing scheduled for the Haunted 100 amongst three series. The day also includes qualifying, B Mains and several consi races amongst all three series. It should probably be a two day event. Longer races mean more tires and pit stops which increases cost. Last night was features only. Usually Open Wednesday runs much later into the evening making 100 laps the appropriate distance in a normal race I would think.

    The Seekonk tour race that never happened last year was going to be 175 laps. It would have been nice to see that have happened to compare and contrast race distances.

  23. Dowling had the car to win the race. Hirschman can thank his lucky stars that Barney (who did nothing wrong and should not bear any blame) was where he was at just the right time, held his line or MH’s goose was cooked.

    There “pick” has been around and utilized since basketball and last night it was used to perfection. Nothing illegal about it, happens all the time in racing. MH had an ill handling car for the second time in two races; Silk passed MH at Beech Ridge and Dowling would have won last night on a clean track.

    You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.


  24. 100 laps of green flag racing is what the TTOMS was born as, it works, it isn’t broke, why change it.

    Bull ring racing at its best.


  25. For the better part of the last four laps the 9 and 60 were side by side behind Barney. Barney’s spotter should have told him what was brewing so he could get the hell out of the way. And he could there was every bit of a lane and a half on the apron to drop to as he slowed just a bit to let the two race for the win. He did drop down a bit and slow on the last lap but by that time it was too late for Dowling.
    Spotter error, 22 year old driver inexperience or a combination of both in my view. He most definitely could have gotten out of the way starting on lap 4 but more realistically on lap 3. Chose not to until the last lap when it was too late for Dowling.
    He didn’t technically do anything wrong he was racing as he had every right to. On the other hand I do believe any experienced driver would have done the right thing, ducked low early and extricated himself from what amounted to picking the winner of the race.

  26. Jimmy King says

    Hirschman, Coby, Bonsignore, Silk, Dowling, Preece had qualified but couldn’t return…that’s pretty “top tier.”

  27. The Atomic Punk says

    Jimmy King, So 6 cars?…. 6? That’s all a Series needs? A series who’s fans are big on Car count.

  28. What did WMASS think of the star power last night?

  29. Richard Savory had a hell of a run from 27th to 4th. Where is the love for that? I am assuming running that silver car. I liked watching him run SK’s and tour type in a Barry owned car. He matriculated his way to the top 5, I am assuming. Steady and getting lucky on lanes I would guess as well. Getting lucky though, is being good. You make your own luck most of the time. Good run Mr. Savory!

  30. It’s not about the star power, it’s about the entertainment value. I agree, there was more star power than the 6 mentioned. Preece not attending did not diminish the competition and excitement factor. Great race overall.

  31. Bill Realist says

    If hirscman still had those trick valve stem covers he would have been a half track ahead at that point. You sleuths figured it out after Oswego though.

  32. Jimmy King says


    Who do you consider “top tier” that wasn’t there. Emerling this year? Who else fits in with those six? How many drivers do you believe to be “top tier?”

  33. The Atomic Punk says

    What ever happened to Coby’s “Flux Capacitor” ?…. Thought I once remembered somebody posting on it Once upon a time…..

  34. Fast Eddie says

    Kayman, Rich Savory finally has some performance back! 5-6 years ago that team was doing well with the MRS, and even won Open Wheel Wednesday one year. The last few years they haven’t quite had the combination. Lately it seems they have it back and after winning an MRS race at Stafford (2019?) didn’t have much luck, getting caught in other peoples’ messes. I almost picked them as my wild card, then remembered their previous wins. They had a tough heat race in June but a good run in the consi. I overthought things and didn’t put him in my top 5 for OWW, my bad!

  35. The Atomic Punk says

    Jimmy King, I am not saying who is or is not top tier. I just feel that in any division of motorsports the more well funded cars there are the better it is for the division or series.

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